Zoey's career has spanned the globe writing and directing off Broadway, Europe and Africa. She specializes in new narrative work, poetry, immersive events, whimsy and mixed media.
She founded and runs her company Smoke & Mirrors Collaborative that creates multidisciplinary work around social justice issues.
Winner of the prestigious Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Award
Black History Museum...
According to the United States of America
off Broadway 2019, HERE Arts Center
Part installation, part durational performance, and completely mesmerizing, The Black History Museum…According to the United States of America invites audiences to experience brave, inclusive narratives about the creation of America, and its re-telling in our schools, media, and communities. Zoey Martinson (Creator, Director), in collaboration with Smoke and Mirrors Collaborative, will be transforming HERE’s entire space – dressing rooms, hallways, lounge, theatre spaces – into The Black History Museum… for audiences of all backgrounds to experience representations of life as a Black American throughout history.
"It is not bleak, it is not hit you over the head dogmatic, it is funny and endearing and damn clever, taking what we know and twisting it, uncovering what we thought we knew and shining a light on it, stating the obvious in surprising ways. I urge you to see this remarkable piece of theatre, art, music, dance. Having seen many of the shows currently on and off-broadway about race in this country, this one is one of the BEST if not THE BEST, entertaining, educational, engaging and submerging you in the whole experience." - The Front Row Center
"...part theater, part museum — an impressively ambitious collaborative effort by a veritable army of African-American artists." - New York Theatre
"The Black History Museum, like many works of art, requires its audience to put some of themselves into the piece. This production is meant to be experienced. In my head, I heard my relatives." - TheatreReviewsFromMySeat.com
iNegro, A rhapsody
Directed by Zoey Martinson, Written by Kareem Lucas
New Ohio Theater, NYC 2022
Born of disillusionment and a fierce self-excavation, Kareem M. Lucas’s Afro-surrealist solo show, iNegro, a rhapsody, takes the audience on a hilarious and harrowing ride through a young Black man’s consciousness as he carves out the space to wrestle with his father, the holy father, and himself. iNegro is a thrilling verbal dance and a poetic, vulgar subversion of the sacred culminating in a wondrous act of surrender and salvation. It reminds us that we can save ourselves. inspiring, intricate, intense, intoxicating, inciting, iNegro.
"I found iNegro disruptive and real, its combination of starkness and lyricism startling. It's a hurricane of a play that strikes with a peculiarly biting force: alternately electrifying, entertaining, and devastating." -StageBuddy.com
"It's not an easy feat that everyone could pull off when standing in one spot for the entire duration of the show. He is calm and confident, curious, and humble. He weaves in humor with hard topics, allowing his voice to be recognized and relatable. His words are poetic and oftentimes, harsh, but always inspiring as he pushes us to want to be better." - BroadwayWorld.com
Dreamer, A Musical
Commissioned by The Kennedy Center,
Workshopped at The South African State Theatre
Join a journey inspired by the real life and music of singer and songwriter Tuelo Minah. Aene is a young girl living in South Africa who sets out to the United States to chase her dreams. Yet as Aene encounters a country that is hostile toward immigrants, she finds her dreams might come at a greater cost. Director and playwright Zoey Martinson captures Tuelo’s journey from girl to woman, from apartheid South Africa to America, with new music by Tuelo Minah herself and arranged with Mandisi Dyantyis. Told through immersive projections and staging, this poetic musical reminds us we have the power to define our own destiny.
Directed and co created by Zoey Martinson
Winner of the Jury prize at 100° Festival Berlin
HAU 2, Berlin Germany & New World Stages TONY Lounge, NYC
Toured to France, Austria, Poland, Denmark Australia
An Intercontinental, International Theater Piece
Performed live simultaneously in New York and Berlin
through Skype at the same time. In NYC it is site specific to a cafe, while in Berlin it goes up in a theater. Featuring online audience interaction, and lots of the unexpected, this piece provides the audience with the opportunity to interact directly with Germany and it's people (and vice verse).
Two young women on different continents are on quest for human connection in the modern world. Poignant, funny, and familiar, Skype Duet looks at our fear of loneliness, the beautiful power of computer mediated communication, and what we have sacrificed as a result of our need for it. A view of the evolution of human relationships through technology.
Olityelwe Formally known as Ndebele Funeral
Written by Zoey Martinson
off Broadway- 59E59 Street Theater
Toured through South Africa
Summerhall/Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Winner of the Overall Excellence Award for Best Play at the New York International Fringe Festival and New York Times & Time Out Critic’s Pick, Olityelwe is a hilariously heartbreaking play that pulls audiences into the music, dirt, and dreams of modern South Africa. Featuring original music and gumboot dancing from the mines of Jo’burg, Smoke & Mirrors Collaboratives’s powerfully physical production provides a human face to Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic. It is a story of deep love between two dear friends and the humor and the hope that they find in the face of loss. Olityelwesparks conversations for audiences about themselves, South Africa, and the world we share together, that continue long after the performance is over.
“This funeral comes fully and furiously alive” -The New York Times “Expertly acted” -The New Yorker"
"If you are not already running to the Teatro Circulo, I urge you to. This masterful piece is riddled with rhythmic thunder not from the choreographed steps or the inspired harmonies, but from the soul. When lights go out on Thabo and Daweti, the black washes over the audience like a cool rain. Be in that rain, folks, it’s that simple." -theasy.com (Thesy Best Bet)
"...a heartbreaking yet beautiful story." -nytheatre.com
Directed and co created by Zoey Martinson
with Per Aspera (Berlin) and Smoke & Mirrors collaborative
Transmediale Festival, Berlin, Germany
Governors Island, NYC
A provocative theatrical experiment in the creation of extremist movements and online protests. From #diplomacy to online terrorism, algorithms used by social media sites have created powerful ways to gather critical support, and sometimes, to manipulate it.
A collaboration between American, German, and Chinese theater artists and interactive technology designers, #UntitledHashtagProject translates online social interactions into an immersive and surprising live performance event where the audience is making the decisions about what happens next. Or are they…
The Alien Nation
Written by Zoey Martinson
Workshop Performance: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Reading: BAM Attic Theatre, Presented by The Dirty Blondes
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Process Space program
Selima is guilty until proven innocent as she fights to claim her place in the only country she has called home. She feels American, sounds American and yet having arrived illegally with her mother at the age of three, she now faces deportation into an unknown homeland. The Alien Nation follows her journey as it weaves from asylum seekers, lawyers and judges as their lives intersect in the U.S. immigration courtroom. Littered with audience interaction, multimedia and scored by a live DJ, the play explores how humanity survives in judicial proceedings.
This play was born out of devising workshops where actors and the creative team gathered asylum seekers’ personal stories, legal residents’ accounts of facing deportation and judge’s reports of being caught between legal duty, and the desire to offer support to others in need.
Writer Zoey Martinson then travelled to detention centers, the US/Mexican boarder, the humanitarian aid camp in the desert for migrants crossing, US immigration court proceedings and conducted countless interviews with immigrants, lawyers and judges .